Dr. LeBaron’s interests are to understand how cells’ microenvironment contributes to disease progression. Changes in the microenvironment in the human body are defined, at least in part, by molecules of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and ECM interactions with cell surface signaling receptors called integrins. The lab’s recombinant protein technology has identified roles of ECM interaction on integrins in cell adhesion, migration, and cell death by apoptosis in disease states such as degenerative articular joint disease, diabetes, and cancer. Understating the complex relationship of ECM activation of cellular signaling pathways in diseased and healthy tissues is expected to provide opportunities for novel drug design and patient treatments.
Thoma, B.S., Moritz, R.J., Rezapoor, F., Sargent, C.T., Phelix, C.F., LeBaron, R.G. (2016) BIGH3: A Negative Regulator of Human Osteosarcoma Large Multicellular Spheroids. Int. J. Clin. Med. 2016. (Online 2158-2882 http://www.scrip.org/journal/ijcm).
TGFβ induces BIGH3 expression and human retinal pericytes apoptosis: A novel pathway of diabetic retinopathy. (2016) Betts-Obregon, B.S., Mondragon, A.A., Mendiola A.S., LeBaron, R.G., Asmis, R., Zou, T., Gonzalez-Fernandez, F., Tsin, A.T. Eye, 1–9. (Online www.nature.com/eye).
Moritz, R.J., LeBaron, R,G., Phelix, C.F, Rupaimoole, R., Kim H-S., H-S., Tsin, A. Asmis, R. Macrophage TGF-β1 and the Proapoptotic Extracellular Matrix Protein BIGH3 Induce Renal Cell Apoptosis in Prediabetic and Diabetic Conditions. (2016) Int. J. Clin. Med. 7, (Online July 2016 Sci/Res. http://www.scirp.org/journal/ijcm).